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Resisting Racism in Arizona through Media – 2010 USSF workshop

June 25, 2010

Last night we attended on a session on the resistance to the racist policies in Arizona. The session consisted of media makers showing video and photos of the various ways that people have been responding to state repression in Arizona and testimonies from some of the people doing the resistance.

We first heard from some high school students who were protesting a law proposed over a year ago (and recently passed), which removed any classes from the curriculum that taught ethnic and cultural studies. Students organized demonstrations and engaged in civil disobedience, some of the chaining themselves to the doors of the State capital.

People with Pan Left Productions, a video collective, also showed clips from some of their work that dealt with both the ethnic studies ban and the most recent anti-immigration law.

There was also a Latina journalist who spoke during the workshop. She shared stories about how people were directly impacted from the new anti-immigration law and how it is destroying families. Here is a video of one of her stories:

Another group of activists and media makers from Maricopa County, where the overtly racist Sheriff’s Joe Arpaio has engaged in draconian policies against Latinos, immigrants and Native people. Activists have been targeting Arpaio for the past two years with daily protests outside his office, which has resulted in the owner of the building forcing the Sheriff to relocate. Here is a video about the reality in Maricopa County:

Activists and media makers also showed some clips from an soon to be released documentary called Under Arpaio, which is an investigative look into the policies and practices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. You can view the trailer for this film on Vimeo by going to this link.

This session was not only inspiring because participants heard from people engaged in resistance, but also because media was being used as an organizing tool in that resistance.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kate Wheeler permalink
    June 26, 2010 6:03 pm

    I found these videos almost too wrenching to watch as I contemplate the day in the not-too-distant future when Michigan will be operating under an identical law. And with the police departments in this region, many of which have been called into question for racial profiling, not to mention the hyper-conservative views of many citizens, it could easily get just as ugly here as it is in Arizona.

    Anyone who doesn’t believe that these new laws are racist-inspired only has to look at Governor Jan Brewer’s comments yesterday:

    She states that most undocumented immigrants who enter her state are drug mules! Even the president of the border agents union responded that that was a lie: most people crossing the border are simply looking for work.

    But lies like this frighten the general population into thinking that laws like SB1070 are necessary. This control comes through the media, which is why the media is the best tool to fight back. Thanks for this report, Jeff.

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